What Happens if You Take Bishops at their Word
A 10 point plan on how to make Bishops of England and Wales happy and proud of you.
1. Renounce the World and embrace poverty for the environment's sake.
2. Morning prayer, always started with the words, 'Brilliant God, we thank You for the environment. Help us to set up another youth ministry.'
3. The early part of the day is spent with your band of brothers asking people for money in order to buy biodegradable clothes, while singing psalms of repentence for ever having owned any which could end up in landfill for years.
4. Your radical way of life is attracting more followers. Now is the time to really do God's work. Go out in pairs and admonish sinners who have the temerity to use non 'bag for life' plastic bags, which will only end up in the bin and later, landfill! Remember that landfill to the Bishops is a fate worse than dying in mortal sin. Remember some of them do not believe in mortal sin at all, but don't worry, because the main thing is saving the environment.
5. Your radical way of life is attracting even more followers. People approach you and your brothers and say, "Brother, I have led a reckless life. I want to know how to change. I see how much you care about the environment and I feel ashamed. For I have travelled around the World selfishly. Lo, behind me lies a trail of the carbon footprint sludge off that advert on TV. What must I do to inherit eternal life?"
Your standard answer should be, "Give up your life of energy-sapping lightbulbs and come to Church." Be firm, he may not be able to change his evil environmentally destructive ways immediately, but Confession every 5 years will certainly help him to amend his scandalous life.
6. Your radical way of life is attracting the multitudes of the town. It is now time to preach the Gospel in fullness of half-truths and platitudes. Young men and women flock to you and ask, "I have led a sinful, selfish life and want to live for God. I want to do penance like you and henceforth live for the Gospel. Tell us about Christ, tell us about sin and salvation so our hearts may burn within us!" Other voices shout, "Yes, yes, tell us about the love of God and His inexhaustible mercy!"
You have won souls to the Church. This is your big moment when you can meekly say, "My poor sister(s)/brother(s), our hearts are drawn to compassion for you in your state, for we too have neglected God's beautiful World. Come and sit with us now and we will talk about saving the rainforests."
If they persist asking you about the Immaculate Conception, Virgin Birth, Life, Death, Resurrection and Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, Papal supremacy resting upon the rock of St Peter, Apostolic Succession and salvation from sin through the Sacraments, gently comfort them and say, "Yes, yes, I think I know what you are getting at, but first, I must explain such wonderous things by telling you about the environment. Do you know how many rainforests were destroyed last year? I'll tell you..."
7. One of the brothers turns to you and asks, "Brother, I find myself falling into sin often. It's an addiction, a habit I find hard to break. Sometimes I feel like I shouldn't receive Communion because of it. I want to receive our Blessed Lord in a State of Grace. Should I keep going to Confession as often as I do, for I feel I go too much and it has only been 11 months since my last one?"
It is now time to gently but firmly rebuke your brother, while sharing with him a vision which you received on ecstacy. "Brother, the Lord shared with me a heavenly secret. He doesn't want to hear your Confessions because He says your a bit useless and come back always with the same old list. Blah, blah, blah, everytime, "Bless me Father, I've done this again, bless me Father, I've done that. He doesn't want to know!" Be comforted in the knowledge that the Lord lost patience with you and you're a bit rubbish. He said He called you to be a Saint but you're still sinning so why not give up now."
8. You have won the confidence of many people. Catholic couples approach you and ask for your pastoral guidance and advice about the theology of the body as expounded by Pope John Paul II and the sanctity of human love as propagated by Humanae Vitae. One couple say, "We find it hard not to use contraception, even though we feel like we are denying the potential for new life to be born. It's almost as if we are not co-operating with God's law."
Someone has posed you an important theological question. This question demands incoherence and vacillation. Your reply should be, therefore. "I don't know. I don't know."
Confused by your response the couple say, "Well, that's okay then! Brother, we've run out of condoms do you have any?" Impelled by Divine Charity you rally the brothers to beg condoms from passers by to save the embarrassment of the married couple. You are now advancing in sanctity and holiness. As they turn away, remember to shout, "If you can re-use them, please do! Think of the environment!"
9. Back at the Friary the brothers are enjoying a post-dinner coffee having preached the Gospel all day in town. But fraternal charity and unity is about to be broken by a black sheep. Brother Tarquin has brought a tray over for the brothers with mugs of coffee, but has left the coffee jar visible on the worktop. Out of the corner of his eye Brother Jasper has smelt a rat. A voice rings through the room, stunning the brothers into a terrible fright.
"Nescafe Gold Blend! That's not FairTrade (TM)! What wretch has brought this shame on the Order?! If word ever got out about this, just imagine how furiously the Bishops of England and Wales would react! Are you trying to have us closed down, you madman!?"
Another brother raises his voice and shouts, "O my God! Look at the kettle! There is at least another mugful of water in there. Brother Tarquin has wasted all that water!" Potential scandal has hit the order. Not only the internal harmony of the Order but the blessing of the Bishops is at risk.
So, being mindful of the Lord's command to forgive and show mercy, you forego a corporal punishment for the brother and swiftly advise him to go to the local shop where he is to take all the Nescafe Gold Blend jars off the shelf, within the sight of the shopkeeper, then put them back and purchase the FairTrade (TM) product. On leaving the brother is told to ask the shopkeeper whether he buys FairTrade (TM) personally. If he replies, "yes", the brother is to leave the shop gracefully and ask God to bless his shop. If he replies "no", then the brother is to leave the shop, shaking the dust off his feet, telling the shopkeeper he hopes he got him on CCTV, that by rewatching the footage the brother prays the shopkeeper may amend his ways and, in general, telling the shop owner to "wake up and smell the coffee."
10. The secular clergy have now heard of your Order and wish to invite the brothers to Mass all over the Diocese. Remember, however, to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves. Some of the Priests may be celebrating the Mass in Extraordinary Form or the Latin Mass, encouraging the Faithful to enter more deeply into the mystery of God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in which all the Faithful congregation face East towards the Lord, otherwise known as Ad Orientem. If any of the secular clergy are trying to initiate this, even at the request of their congregations, humbly decline their offer and make sure you find a replacement Mass involving clowns, a rock band, dancing bears and Communion under the guise of battenberg cake and Ribena.